The Federation

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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Fry: DOOP? What's that?
Farnsworth: It's similar to the United Nations from your time, Fry.
Fry: Uh...
Hermes: Or like the Federation from your Star Trek program.
Fry: Oh!

The (mostly) good counterpart to The Empire, generally presided over by Reasonable Authority Figures. The Federation is basically a cross between the United Kingdom and the United States, with vague echoes of the Roman Republic. The actual name may vary, but not by much. Usually has the words "Federation", "United", "Alliance" or equivalent verbiage somewhere in the official title. Almost always a democracy, usually similar to American democracy or British parliament, and has a role similar to the United Nations.

In most sci-fi settings, the Federation is entirely or predominantly human, usually commands a fleet of ISO Standard Human Spaceships, and is most likely to look the closest to Twenty Minutes Into the Future when the other factions may be Crystal Spires and Togas, Organic Technology or both. Expect its Capital City to be the Shining City and its citizens to wear anything but Spikes of Villainy.

Rarely played as evil outright, but will usually suffer from sometimes-crippling red tape, and the occasional corrupt politicians and/or generals. Another common evil Federation set-up is The Federation opposing the independence of a number of colonies, whether space colonies in orbit, Mars or other planets in the system, or on entirely different systems. Even in this case, the main opposing force may be shown to be Well Intentioned Extremists and/or an example of The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized, willing to hurt innocent people to try to gain their independence, or worse, being used as a front for a truly evil Big Bad. The heroes will usually be either among the good soldiers of the Federation or neutral parties who get caught up in the war; this is especially true in Anime. In this case, The Federation will be seen as the lesser of two evils.

If pitted against The Empire, is usually in a Cold War-like state, just recovering from a recent war, or a few international incidents from plunging into one. They often give covert aid (weapons, funds, supplies) to any resistance movements, but won't intervene directly unless they're already at war. In general, it frequently plays an America-like role in the political climate of the setting. If there's a movement to overthrow or undermine it, it's likely The Remnant.

Technically a "federation" is a loose conglomeration of states with common goals and purposes, coordinated by a central government that's independent of them all, and from which they have a certain amount of autonomy. One of the best examples of a federation is Russia: not only is its official name "Russian Federation", but most of the lands with a significant ethnic population, like Chechnya, are highly autonomous regions known as "republics". The Swiss Confederation is also an example. Likewise, the original design of the United States was a federation (hence "federal government"); many so-called "federations" in fiction are nothing of the sort. If the group acts much more like a single country than a bunch of mostly autonomous states, it's probably The Republic.

Note that a 'Confederation' is typically a conglomeration of states that are even more loosely bound than a Federation, the primary difference is that in a Confederation, the federal good is 'never' allowed to outweigh the good of the individual state. Switzerland is a modern example of a successful confederate democracy; the United Arab Emirates is an example of a confederation of absolute monarchies. In fiction, Confederations are typically portrayed as (at best) antagonistic neutrals and at worst, bad guys. This seems to be a holdover from the US civil war.

Compare and contrast The Alliance, usually a more temporary union of nations against a common enemy.

Examples of The Federation include:

Anime and Manga

  • The Earth Federation in Mobile Suit Gundam
    • The Earth Sphere Unified Nation in Gundam Wing. Not to be confused with the United Earth Sphere Alliance.
      • None of the Federations in Gundam are particularly benevolent. In the original timeline, the Universal Century, the Federation does not allow citizens in space colonies to vote or have any say in politics, leading to many, many resistance groups forming.
      • ... and do not forget they have the Titans, either. A corrupt branch that gassed a whole colony because of peaceful demonstrations against the Earth Federation.
        • Uh, actually, the 30 Bunch demonstrations ended up turning into mass riots as they went on, and the Titans were only deployed after the regular EFSF failed to pacify the colony. Not that the Titans were "right" in gassing the colony of course.
        • The Titans put the Federation into a similar situation that the A-Laws do in Mobile Suit Gundam 00, so much so that regular Federation Officers start defecting en masse to the AEUG with Bright Noah leading the way. This is mostly due to the Titans being well, an organization almost entirely filled with complete monsters, and that the Federation officers and troops haven't signed up for.
      • The United Earth Sphere Alliance from Wing is just as bad, as its general corruption and oppression is what the Gundam pilots are fighting in the first place.
        • On the other hand, it's replacement, the Earth Sphere Unified Nation is one of, if not the most benevolent and peaceful example(s) in the whole Gundam franchise.
      • Also, Earth Sphere Federation from Mobile Suit Gundam 00 is just as corrupt as it can be, abusing its political power against whoever opposes its reign - and do not forget its right-hand men, the A-LAWS, either.
        • However, after the A-Laws fall, the Federation becomes much more benevolent. Due to Ribbons Allmark, he turned the Federation into a dictatorship to accelerate the growth of human Innovators, and had a stranglehold on everything politically. By the time of the movie, the Federation is pretty much near Star Trek's level of benevolence.
    • The Federation from Gundam AGE follows the Gundam pattern of not being especially benevolent to anyone who opposes them. Also, its decision to cover up a failed Mars colonization attempt rather than rescue the colonists is the reason the war is going on at all.
  • The United Nations in Super Dimension Fortress Macross, or United Earth Government in the American adaptation Robotech.
  • The Time/Space Administration Bureau from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha might be this, since they're shown acting very much like it. On the other hand, the only leadership we've seen or heard are admirals who do some civilian-leader-like tasks usually handled by elected officials, implying a military dictatorship. And the brains in jars, but they were a shadow government. Its all so vague they might still be this anyway, though, its just hard to tell.
  • The Union in Soukou no Strain, pitted against the evil rebel Deague.
  • In Code Geass, the Holy Empire of Britannia, was opposed by two other superpowers, the Chinese Federation and the Euro Universe, the latter was later smacked silly, and only Britain (surprise), Germany and the Norse islands as well as the Congo and Ukraine remained free. And to add salt to wounds, no named characters exist from the EU. They only served to be a throw away country.
  • The Free Planets Alliance from Legend of Galactic Heroes is an example of a Federation treated realistically: Its democratic ideals doesn't protect it from tyranny any more than the autocratic ideals of the Galactic Empire condemns it to tyranny.
  • Played with in Axis Powers Hetalia. The first episode of the anime shows a "world meeting" that is an obvious parody of the UN. Considering that the entire episode had the characters arguing and doing nothing, it's more of a subversion.
    • Except that "arguing and doing nothing" describes the current state of UN spot-on.

Comic Books


  • The Galactic Republic, the New Republic, and the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances (Galactic Alliance for short) in the Galaxy Far Far Away. (See also Fun with Acronyms.)
    • Also, the Confederacy of Independent Systems of the prequels, though they were more or less evil.
    • Averted with the Trade Federation, which was a federation In Name Only and was instead a Mega Corp with political influence. It ended up as a founding part of the CIS.
  • The United Galactic Federation of Lilo and Stitch. In The Series, it's called the Galactic Alliance.
  • The United Citizen's Federation of Starship Troopers is more of a People's Republic of Tyranny and The Empire than a Federation, being a highly militaristic and quasi-fascistic state seemingly run by a military hierarchy, complete with a Propaganda Machine. Civil rights are surprisingly good though, and racism and sexism seems to be almost entirely absent. However free speech is quite restricted, anyone speaking against the Federation gets hung. You also only become a full citizen after enlisting in the military. Surprisingly, there's no draft.


  • E. E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman books basically invented this trope for SF, in the form of Civilization.
  • The People's Republic of Haven in Honor Harrington is a very nasty and brutal deconstruction of this trope. Haven starts out as a simple Republic that is referred to as an 'Interstellar Athens' and lived in a perpetual golden age. Then the Havenite government decided to jack up the welfare programs, which in turn causes the economy to collapse. Instead of cutting the welfare programs, the Republic instead decides to turn conquistador, conquering and looting other planets to put money in their treasury. Fast forward a hundred or so years later, Haven rules a vast interstellar empire of over two hundred star systems, and its citizens are divided into the second-class "dolists" ruled by the first-class "legislaturalist" hereditary political families. Then, a revolution kicks off, trying to fix the system. Unfortunately the revolution is modeled after the French Revolution complete with a leader named Rob S. Pierre. Saying that it didn't end well would be a kind of an understatement.
    • Of course, now that the Havenite version of the Thermidorian Reaction has occurred (Theisman and Pritchard), and with their version of Napoleon removed ahead of schedule (Citizen Admiral Clusterbomb, AKA Esther McQueen), things seem to be on track for the restored Republic of Haven. Aside from the whole resumption of war with Manticore, of course.
    • And now with the War with the Solarian League, we seem to be heading for a retelling of a combination of the Crimean War (Britain & France allied against the collosus of Russia) and the American Civil War.
  • The Confederation in Peter F. Hamilton's Night's Dawn Trilogy, and the Commonwealth in his Commonwealth Saga.
  • Despite its name (and being lead by the same handful of nearly-immortal humans for centuries), the Solar Empire of the Perry Rhodan series is a voluntary alliance of Earth and alien worlds with proper civil rights.
    • Replaced later by the League of the Free Terrans.
  • The Con Sentiency, a federation of truly alien societies.
  • The Humanx Commonwealth, in the Space Opera series of the same name by Alan Dean Foster.
  • The trading nations in Karen Miller's Godspeaker Trilogy that Rhian has to fight with in order to get an army and ships from them to stop the oncoming attack from Mijak.
  • H. Beam Piper's Terrohuman Future History features the "Terran Federation".
  • The Harry Potter series has the "International Confederation of Wizards", which is only really mentioned as background information. Apparently the "Supreme Mugwump" is an important position.
  • Inverted in Terry Brook's Shannara series, where the faction called The Federation, is actually The Empire.
    • Although it did originally start as a traditional Federation between several large isolated cities, it was only later that they decided it would be better for the human race if everyone was under one they liked it or not...and every non-Human race were either exterminated or enslaved.
  • The Terran Concordiat, from Keith Laumer's Bolo series.
  • The Terran Federation from Starship Troopers.
  • The Confederacy of Suns in The History of the Galaxy series, although it's dissolved after nearly a millennium due to internal strife and inherent inequality in planetary rights: only the Core worlds (those originally forming it) have full rights and fleet protection, while the Periphery has to, mostly, fend for itself. After the dissolution, each world is on its own. After a few decades, though, a previously-unknown alien race conducts a sneak attack on one of the Core colonies, cutting off interstellar communication between worlds. After the aliens are defeated, their slave races become full members of the new Confederacy of Suns. In fact, one of the novels after this deals specifically with the inability of the Confederate fleet to reliably protect all of its worlds and the measures being taken to change that. Instead of a Standard Sci-Fi Fleet (which still exists but is relegated to the Core colonies), the Periphery is protected by patroling cruiser-carriers with new type of modular hyperdrive-equipped fighters.
    • The series also deals heavily with the time periods prior to the formation of the Confederacy, namely the First Galactic War, in which the Earth Alliance is attempting to impose its rule on a number of Lost Colonies, who have banded together. After the thirty-year war, Earth is defeated, and the colonies (which are now industrial and scientific powerhouses) form the Confederacy.
  • The Human Empire in Sergey Lukyanenko's Line of Delirium is presented as having elements of this. Despite the name and The Emperor, the human planets are generally left to their own devices. One planet is mentioned to have a president, implying strong local governments. While there are empire-wide laws, they are usually quite reasonable with some exceptions (such as the "kill all clones and genetically-engineered people" one). One colony is mentioned to have been brutally destroyed when it attempted to secede, but then which country is okay with having some of its territory taken away.
  • The Starways Congress in the Ender's Game series appears to be this, until it starts showing how corrupt it really is. Even Han Fei-Tzu, one of their most respected supporters from the planet Path, is eventually forced to admit that they the Congress is full of evil men who have done and are prepared to do unspeakable things to hold on to power. Despite this, he has supported them because, in accordance with his religion (based on Daoism), the rulers automatically have the "Mandate of Heaven". Thus, their will is the will of the gods. Even when said will is to send a fleet to forcibly evacuate a colony for refusing to turn over two of its citizens for trial, even if there are plenty of people in the Hundred Worlds who think it's unjust to force people to take a 30-year trip to be tried, as it essentially means punishing them before there's even a trial. Also, the fleet is armed with a weapon capable of destroying a planet, and the Congress is fully prepared to use it. Any attempts to reveal the truth of the fleet's real mission are declared treasonous. Anyone suspected of writing "seditious" literature is arrested and tortured for information. Hmm, no free speech, cruel and unusual punishment, heavy corruption. That doesn't sound like it's what a Federation should be like.
    • There's also the fear the colonies have that sending a fleet to one colony that disagrees with the Congress is setting a precedent for the Congress to use the fleet to quell any opposition in the Hundred Worlds.
  • The Confederation in the Confederation of Valor series.

Live Action TV

  • The United Federation of Planets in Star Trek, of course.
    • A fairly accurate example of an actual Federation, too. While they have a strong Star Fleet which combines Space Navy and Space Police functions, they seem to let member worlds largely manage their own affairs and avoid military opposition to secession.
      • The military opposition to secession is strongly there if there's a treaty involved. The Maquis were formed by Federation colonists in the DMZ, many of whom had their planets change hands as part of a peace treaty. One group of Indians, who explicitly don't want to be in the Federation, have their planet given away and were in the process of being removed from the Federation in one episode.
      • Military intervention was immediately cancelled, however, when said group renounced their Federation citizenship, and agreed to live peacefully alongside Cardassian colonists. It didn't end well in the sequel series.
  • The Earth Alliance and Interstellar Alliance in Babylon 5.
    • Though the Earth Alliance devolves into a SpaceNazi Empire under President Clark, complete with the Martian-independence subtrope.
    • In season five, and right at the end of season four, there is the Interstellar Alliance which looks to become a Federation type thing. It's still new so not as powerful as the one in Star Trek but it could easily become that and all indicators are that it will. Even has its own fighting force in the form of the Anla'Shok aka the Rangers.
      • Since the presidency of the Interstellar Alliance is a suspiciously powerful position and the Rangers are bound by no other moral or legal code than their own, the Interstellar Alliance itself seems to be in danger of becoming yet another form of The Empire. This is especially apparent in the episode where Sheridan tricks the ambassadors of the Alliance worlds into allowing the White Star fleet to patrol their borders. The only thing that stands between the Interstellar Alliance and a role as The Empire seems to be the decency of its present leaders. Of course, the White Star Gambit was before the ISA's constitution came into effect; that presumably limits things, and it's Canon that the ISA develops quite nicely, while the Earth Alliance is the one that develops (again) into a fascist, xenophobic state.
      • It wasn't all of the Earth Alliance. Just one of the factions. Unfortunately, they end up starting a nuclear war with the other faction, resulting in mutual destruction. Centuries later, the Rangers are secretly working on helping the survivors of the Great Burn restore civilization. It's not clear what happens to the colonies, but it's possible they're working with the Rangers on this.
  • United Earth Oceans (UEO) in SeaQuest DSV.
    • After a Time Skip to 10 years later, UEO has considerably weakened, especially after the disappearance of its titular flagship (the only submarine of its kind). In that time, a new power (of The Empire kind) has been steadily gaining power, eventually forming the Macronesian Alliance (formerly New Australia), whose aggressive policies (such as annexing nearby territories without a formal declaration) remain mostly unchecked by the weakened UEO.
  • The Galactic Federation in Blakes Seven is very corrupt and oppressive. It was conceived as an Alliance but became an Empire. The main villain of the series, Servalan, plans to capture the Liberator so that she can create a fleet with which to take over the Federation and restore it to its former glory.
    • The Peacekeepers from Farscape should, however, be considered a subversion. They were no less an empire than their enemies, the Scarrans, but they were clean and well dressed (and prettier). They were also Space Nazis.
  • The Systems Commonwealth in Andromeda.
    • Which was originally the Vedran Empire. Somehow, humans have become the dominant race in the Commonwealth, despite being one of many races in it (and Vedrans mostly being in charge).
  • The Earth Empire, the Galactic Federation, and the later Human Empires in Doctor Who, despite the "empire" names, fit this trope (although, because of the multi-millennial time scales involved, how well they fit varies). In most cases, planets are controlled by local governments or corporations, while the central government is benevolent but so distant as to be useless outside of a small sphere. (It does come from the former British Empire, after all...)
  • The Union of Allied Planets in Firefly (though the story is told from the side of a group that lost to the Alliance...).
  • The Twelve Colonies of Kobol in the 2004 Battlestar Galactica. Depicted as being rather weaker than most Federations, as its member Colonies are permitted to be as tyrannical (read: Saggitaron) or fanatical (read: Gemenon) as they please.
    • This is likely because the Twelve Colonies united are said to just over 50 years old, 40 years after the end of the decade long Cylon War. It is quite likely they only came together to face the threat posed by the Cylons, and mention is made of various colonies being dominated for centuries by some of the others in the series. The first episode of the Prequel series, Caprica, seems to confirm this. As a result, the only truly powerful Colonies wide organization is the Colonial Military, resulting in the occasionally dark undertones as to the influence it had on government and harsh reactions of previous President's to civil strife.
  • In the original version of Battlestar Galactica, the Twelve Colonies had been united for thousands of yahrens, and the ongoing war with the Cylons had lasted for 1000 years or so when Baltar's betrayal and the naivete of the ruling council led to their defeat. The original federal union of the 12 worlds was governed by a Quorum of the Twelve, and apparently each member of that council represented a tribe, rather than a world, it just so happened that each tribe had its own world. It would probably be easier to maintain the independent nature of the members of a federation if each one had its own separate world.
  • A Federation of sorts forms in Stargate Atlantis comprised of the various societies the Atlantis expedition had visited in their travels. They immediately turn on Atlantis, blaming them (rightfully so to a degree) for the galaxy's current problems. The comparison to Star Trek's Federation is naturally brought up, to which Rodney dismissively replies that the Federation had ships.
      • One must point out however that most of the problems that the Atlantis expedition where blamed for where caused by the Ancients, not them. Sheppard went so far as to point this fact out, further stating that he and his team where just trying to clean up the mess that the Ancients blatantly refuse to take responsibility for. The judge does in fact agree with him. But quickly points out that the new Federation has no power over the Ancients, so Sheppard and his team will have to take the fall.
    • Considering there's no alternative to using ships for interplanetary in Star Trek, the Federation needed ships. The stargate system makes traveling to other planets as easy as stepping through a vertical pool of "water".


  • The Solar Federation in Rush's 2112 is a strawman communist state.
  • Sarah Brightman lost her heart to a starship trooper who was "fighting for the Federation".

Tabletop Games

  • The Tau Empire of Warhammer 40,000, might be a bit of a subversion; they're the only ones who know the definition of the word diplomacy, allow their allies to keep their military forces (so long as they don't revolt; the military'll be partially disarmed so it'll have to rely on the Tau military, should it come to that), treat the inhabitants of their conquered territories rather nicely (if they remain subsumed into the Empire and swear to uphold the Greater Good - the main Tau belief system). However, they have the most firmly centralized government of all the 40k factions, divided into a caste system that's mind-controlled by the highest class—Ethereals.
    • Furthermore, practically half of their allies serve as separate military branches for the Tau Empire. Being terrible in hand-to-hand combat, the Tau employ the avian Kroot as melee combatants, while the nomadic and spacefaring Nicassar provide ships to scout, fight and explore for the Tau, the insectoid Vespid excel in fighting the Space Marines and the the Gue'vesa (human turncoats) reinforce the western half of the Tau Empire, providing information about Imperial military doctrines and the locations of important planets or structures to the Tau commanders. Additionally, the dwarven Demiurg, reputed as miners and traders, are noted for being economic comrades to the Tau, the mammalian Tarellians have "dog soldiers", and nobody knows anything about the Galgs. If nothing else, the Tau are The Republic of 40k, with some shades of a federation.
    • The Imperium itself fits the trope in a lot of ways; individual worlds are largely allowed to run themselves so long as they pay a tithe of warm bodies for the Imperial Guard, food for the myriad Hive Worlds, and psykers for the Inquisition's Black Ships.
      • Depends mostly where in the galaxy you live, of course. If you live in the systems that lie close to Terra, it is most definitely The Empire, while if you live in some distant system like in Ultramar, it is very likely it would be more like The Federation. On other places still, like many feral worlds, it resembles neither.
      • The Imperium also consists of a few large and somewhat independent factions: the Adeptus Mechanicus (combation technology church and industrial Mega Corp) runs many forge-worlds under its own steam, and each chapter of Space Marines is autonomous and many, especially the Ultramarines, directly control at least a planet, if not a small sector of space.
  • The Traveller's Third Imperium is one of these, despite the name suggesting something different.
    • The Terran Confederation in the Intersteller Wars volume of Traveller is a strange example. Though the sympathies lie with them, they are an ambitious, expansionist and conquering state. However, on the other hand, once they do conquer places they tend to treat them well.
      • It is not clear whether the Vilani or the Terrans are most to be blamed for the ISW's and a mild tweaking could give the Terrans more palatable justification if it suits the GM. The first Terran expansion was in trade, settling uninhabited colonies, and contact with Vilani dissidents even in canon and conquest came later when the Terrans found how tough they were. But in any case the Terran Confederation is clearly The Federation rather then The Empire despite it's aggressive foreign policy.
  • The Federated Commonwealth in BattleTech. Meanwhile, the Free Worlds League, while not fitting the "good guys" vibe of the trope, is more of an actual federation, with many nigh-independent worlds and regions, and the loosest central government of the major powers.
    • The original Star League also counts; the major members were all left to their own affairs while still being subordinate to the Terran Hegemony. It was more like The Empire to the Periphery though.
  • The New Earth Government in Cthulhu Tech (formed from the New United Nations during an "alien" genocide) might qualify, for all that it's a Police State in a Lovecraftian universe which operates a borderline Ministry Of Love to prevent EldritchAbominations from controlling you in an attempt to destroy/convert/use as breeding fodder/transform humanity. The Cthulhutech world is not a happy place.
  • The Seven Kingdoms in Talislanta fit this trope perfectly, the moreso in that each of the seven is populated by a (very!) different race. Not all aliens have to be from outer space.

Video Games

  • The X-Universe has the Argon Federation, a Lost Colony of Earth which uses ISO Standard Human Spaceships, and is one of the neutral/good powers among the game's empires.
    • The Boron are both The Federation and The Kingdom, although more the latter than the former. They qualify as The Federation on basis of being a neutral/good power, and having a democratically elected leadership (the queen is a figurehead).
    • The Terrans may qualify, but they might also be a subversion. They're democratic according to Word of God, but they have strong xenophobic and paranoid tendencies.
  • The Earth Federation in Mobile Suit Gundam
  • The New California Republic (NCR) in Fallout 2 and Fallout: New Vegas is a neutral example of a Federation. On one hand they are the only major faction in the entire post Great War America that that improved the standard of living of the common people by rebuilding infrastructure such as railroads, establishing of trade routes, and reorganizing the code of law, etc. However, they are also a selfish, corrupt, bound by countless red tape, and a semi police state that is willing to use all kind of dirty tricks to force other settlements into joining them. Overall they are about as good as any functional post nuclear war government can go.
    • Given that the only other choices are random anarchic thugs or myopic self-entitled elitist/racist/fascist group, they are the best choice. Occasionally, one might get lucky and stumble upon good independent groups, like the Capital Wasteland Brotherhood of Steel, or you can try to forge an independent wasteland, but they're unlikely to hold with the NCR's expansion or other groups' own agendas.
    • Fallout New Vegas really goes crazy trying to paint the NCR as just as bad as the other two options—one being a complete dictatorship, the other being pseudo-Roman slavers who regard most woman as property. It's pretty ridiculous, especially during the sum-up when some of the characters complain about how "badly" the NCR treated them.
    • This is because Chris Avellone has been actively trying to make the NCR seem like crap as he feels they have done away with the post-apocalyptic feel of the series. He's right, of course. The NCR is pretty much like modern day America and the post-scavenger world is off to the east and north. He even went so far as to add a nuke the NCR option in Lonesome Road and has said on his twitter account that if another Fallout comes to him, he's nuking the NCR for a clean slate in the region.[1]
  • The Terran factions in StarCraft usually fit this to one degree or another, although in StarCraft it is a Confederation, which is not nearly so well-intentioned. This is even worse of a misuse then the term 'Federation' tends to be, as a confederation is supposed to have even looser central government, one that wouldn't have the authority to try to retain a region that wanted to leave.
    • Later succeeded by the Terran Dominion, which to all intents in purposes is effectively an autocracy and much more overt in both name and intentions.
  • The UCN (United Colonial Nations) in the Killzone series essentially act as the United Nations. It presides over all the Earth-held colonies in space with Earth itself as its capital.
    • Also, the ISA (Interplanetary Strategic Alliance), the main protagonists of Killzone, act as the UCN's "NATO" forces. Every UCN colony is allowed to have its own ISA military to defend itself in times of war, but they are all under (indirect) control of the UCN.
  • Parodied in Star Control II, where the player character is asked to name the new good-guy faction. One of the options is the United Federation of Worlds. Another is "The Empire of [Your Name]".
  • The Earth Federation (later Pangalactic Federation) in Star Ocean; since SO is significantly based on Star Trek, this is quite similar to the UFP above.
    • Can also be a subtle subversion as well, considering some of the fluff that is provided in the background data that can be unlocked in Star Ocean III.
  • The Galaxy Federation in Xenosaga.
  • The Global Defense Initiative (GDI) in the chronologically later Command & Conquer games. At the beginning of the series, GDI was simply a multinational military force under the command of the United Nations, but as the timeline progressed the individual countries began to disappear until the UN/GDI was the only political/military force left, making it a sort of traditional-style Federation.
    • Also the United States in the Generals series.
  • The Federation in Frontier, Frontier: Elite and Frontier: First Encounters. Only marginally nicer than The Empire, but still a straightforward example of the trope.
  • Although mentioned as early as the first game's manual, Metroid's Galactic Federation rarely got more than a passing mention until Fusion. In Prime 3, it's presented as a fairly typical good-guy federation.
    • Metroid's interpretation of The Federation is starting to subvert this trope with the advent of Fusion, as their goals are becoming more ruthless and self-serving. Samus could also be seen as an enemy of this more sinister Federation following her actions in Fusion as well.
  • F-Zero's Galactic Space Federation is also one of the many, many similarities between the respective settings of this series and that of Metroid.
  • The Union in Drakengard, fighting The Empire.
  • The Terran Confederation from the Wing Commander series.
    • Wing Commander IV also introduces the Union of Border Worlds, which is much more of a Confederation mixed with The Alliance.
  • The Lycian League in Fire Emblem: Sword of Seals and its prequel, Blazing Sword, are a group of small territories, each ruled by a marquess. In Sword of Seals, they fight The Empire, but in Blazing Sword they mostly squabble amongst themselves. Some endings of Sword of Seals have the main character unifying the territories into a single kingdom.
  • The Peacekeeping Forces faction in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.
  • The Citadel Council in Mass Effect sits somewhere between The Federation and The Alliance. The council is acting mostly like the United Nations Security Council, consisting of the Asari Republic, the Turian Hierarchy, the Salarian Union, and the human Systems Alliance, while the other races have observer status. While each member "country" governs itself, there are common policies regarding international trade, arms treaties, and fundamental legal rights of individuals. Citadel Space appears to cover about 60 to 80 percent of the galaxy with independent colonies being clustered in the Terminus Systems.
    • Most of the human species is governed by the Systems Alliance, which is the only recognized representative of humans in Citadel Space, which appears to be very close to present federations on earth. Planets mostly govern themselves, but for example the military and all diplomatic relations with other species falls under federal responsibility.
  • EVE Online's Gallente Federation.
  • The Atlantic Federation of Valkyria Chronicles. From the protagonists' point of view, however, they're only better than The Empire because they're not currently busy invading Gallia—they're certainly not offering to help. Then again, nobody in the game except the protagonists do that much anyway.
    • Considering that they are ALSO fighting an Imperial invasion of their frontier that is stated to be militarily superior to them and probabl vastly dwarfs the forces the Empire committed to the Gallian campaign, this is probably justified.
  • Escape Velocity Nova features a Federation. They're definitely not portrayed the good guys, and they seem to act like more of an Empire than a Federation. They even have their own Rebellion opposing them. The Auroran Empire is a sort of confederation, being a bunch of independent, warring houses that pass around the leadership baton.
    • It's something of an inversion - the Federation is corrupt, and the Empire is honor-driven to a fault. In most of the endings, the player Takes a Third Option and winds up with a stable society after uniting them.
    • If one reads the preambles, and pays attention to what you're told in the storylines, it seems the Federation was a Federation at least, for humans, not Telepathic Spacemen, although one more corrupt and with dirtier secrets than the common example. Then came the Bureau.... Meanwhile, Escape Velocity Override has the United Earth, who is either The Alliance, The Federation, or The Empire, depending mainly upon where you draw the line between Alliance and Federation (for instance the UE does not have a common currency, but it does have a common foreign policy and Navy), your perspective on the UE's treatment of her colony worlds (note that the vast majority of humans still live on Earth), and how deeply you are affected by/fear the Voinian Empire.
  • The Alliance in World of Warcraft is a fantasy example of this trope. Although it would at first glance appear to be The Alliance, the only portion of the Alliance that ISN'T this trope right down to the letter is its lack of centralized leadership, which appears to be changing with the return of Varian Wrynn and becoming more centralized around the Humans of Stormwind. The Alliance's counterpart, the Horde, resembles a (mostly) good version of The Empire with its thirst for conquest.
    • There is some split among the remaining human powers where the political center of the Alliance should be. The two major competitors are Stormwind and Theramore.
  • The humans in Master of Orion II has democracy as their default form of government. Their "Advanced government type" turns them into The Federation. Oh, and the picture of the human leader is a bald man, just in case you missed the message.
  • Much like The Empire, the MMORPG Pardus plays this trope pretty straight. Mostly humans? Check. Somewhat corrupt? Check. 20 Minutes Into the Future ships? Oh yes. What makes this interesting, though, is that the Federation is comprised completely of players(along with the other 2 factions, the Empire and the Union).
  • The United Nations Space Command from Halo is a textbook example of this.
    • There are also plenty of rebels. Their vicious terror tactics have necessitated the creation of the SPARTAN-II Super Soldiers. As if killing random civilians with an advanced form of plastic explosives wasn't enough, one of the first mission assigned to Master Chief in the novels is to recover nuclear weapons stolen by the rebels.
  • The Alliance in Breath of Fire IV is a borderline case between The Alliance and this trope, going more towards The Federation just due to the length of time it and The Empire have been at a state of running hot- and cold-wars. Six hundred years, to be precise, with at least four de facto World Wars and armistices...and the wars have lately involved the use of nuke expys by the Alliance. And you thought the Hundred Years War was bad...
  • The United Earth Federation (UEF) in Supreme Commander is a subversion: despite the name, it's The Empire and a military dictatorship to boot. The Cybran Nation is a better example as a loosely unified band of culturally different "nodes" that share technology and allegiance to Doctor Brackman, the father of the Cybrans, and generally only act in unison when presented with an external threat (such as the UEF above, or the Church Militant Aeon).
  • The Precursors has the Democratic Union, one of the possible factions the player can work for. It's a very gray organization, which is actively colonizing a planet during the events of the game and fighting the alien natives. (However, the government of said natives isn't made of saints either, and there are groups of natives willing to work with the Democratic Union against them)
  • The United Federation in Sonic the Hedgehog, an human federation styled after the United States, with a president and all. Its armed forces is named G.U.N. and it primary mission is to fight back the Eggman Empire and other enemies to the federation, such as Chaos and the Black Arms. Once in conflict with Team Sonic, they're now (mostly) allies to the main characters. The United Federation also appears in the Archie Comic version, now as an ally to the Republic of Acorn and an active player in the Second Robotnik War. They were also the ones who nuked Eggman Empire's former capital city the Old Robotropolis.
  • The nation of Malorigan in Eien no Aselia seems to fill this role. They actually seem to be at least as decent as Rakios, but due to events going on end up your enemy anyway.
  • By Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter the Morrigi are officially head of a federation comprising the other races. While players could incorporate the other races in the first game into their empires through research, the sequel will build on this with NPC FTL-incapable races to assimilate peacefully.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • British Space in the Space Arc of Arthur, King of Time and Space. Despite being a monarchy, very close to being a proper federation: Arthur likes his petty kings and subject lords to have relative autonomy, because it means less work.
  • Associated Space features the Terran Associated States, a fairly loose federation of petty human star empires, republics, and every other form of government that's ever been tried.
  • The U.E.A. of Registry of Time.
  • Tech Infantry has the Earth Federation, which at various times both plays this trope straight and subverts it by being oppressive and evil.
  • Decades of Darkness has the Russian Empire/Federation, the German Empire and the British Empire.
  • Open Blue has the Axifloan Coalition, a very shaky confederation whose members were hated enemies no more than 170 years before the present time, stopping only because they realized fighting was stupid. Interestingly enough, its most powerful member states include two rival empires, a Vestigial Empire, and a small but extremely powerful City-State. As of v5, three of these states have declared war on one another and seceded from the Coalition, leaving it a shell of its former self.
  • Two of the more powerful slider factions in Suzumiya Haruhi no Yaku-Asobi are the Crossway and Odinean Federations. The former is closer to The Republic (reformed from The Empire), however.
  • The Galactic Republic in The Gungan Council, natch, until it was ripped apart by the Imperial Remnant and deteriorated into the Rebellion, leaving the Galactic Empire to take its place.
  • A good number of them had propped up after World War III in 1983: Doomsday, among the more notable and relatively benevolent ones being the ANZ Commonwealth, Alpine Confederation and Nordic Union.

Western Animation

  • The Democratic Organization of Planets (DOOP) in Futurama.
  • The Federated Commonwealth in BattleTech. Meanwhile, the Free Worlds League, while not fitting the "good guys" vibe of the trope, is more of an actual federation, with many nigh-independent worlds and regions, and the loosest central government of the major powers.
  • The Earth Kingdom, a vast confederate monarchy in Avatar: The Last Airbender that opposes the dictatorship of the Fire Nation.
  • The Homeworlds from Exo Squad.

Real Life

  • The United States of America. Some of the states that make up the United States themselves could be considered such, although most are some form of unitary state. The degree of autonomy the states get is especially interesting to many foreigners.
  • India. Historically, many of its component territories were independent kingdoms for over a thousand years before the coming of the East India Company. Even now the highest administrative authority in the country, the Prime Minister, has less power than most heads of state.
  • The European Union is, suffice to say, a complex case, even disregarding accusations of would-be or even actual Empire, but it does have clear tendencies towards this. And a few agreements and founders vaguely hinting at or suggesting this as a future goal (again, one's mileage may vary whether this is something that actually will happen, or whether the end-result would actually be The Federation).
    • Right now the EU is a confederation that tries as it might to become somewhat closer. The Federation is on the other end of this scale, but whether the European Union would finally move there is an open question.
  • The UN wants to be this. Or some people want it to be this. Or some people are afraid of it becoming this whether it wants to or not. Nowhere close, though.
  • Switzerland. The country's individual cantons are very autonomous, and historically were semi-autonomous subdivisions of the Holy Roman Empire.
  • Canada is a strange case. Starting off as a collection of British colonies with varying degrees of self-government and cultural autonomy, it was unified together in a process known as Confederation. However, the Dominion government had much more power than the provinces at first, due to the concerns by many Canadian authorities that giving the provinces power like the US states would lead to a civil war just like the ones the Americans had recently fought. However, a lot of successful court cases and legislation by politicians (especially one from Ontario) led to the provinces gaining far more autonomy than was originally intended. During different periods of the 20th century (such as the Trudeau era), the Federal Government gained more powers in various areas, coinciding with the development of the welfare state during that time. However, Quebec had also started moving towards more autonomy and possible sovereignty, and won many concessions. Other provinces (such as Alberta and Newfoundland) also found themselves challenging the Feds. The end result is a Federation where the Central Government has a fair amount of power in many areas, but where the provinces are also given a surprising amount of autonomy in others. This is a really good example of how, while many nations may use the terms "Federation" and "Confederation", the actual mechanisms of government can be very different from each other.
    • Canada's own patch-work nature of being a union of British former colonies and territories in the far north of America starts to become visible if you look at the size of provinces: on one end there are Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island which are absolutely minuscule in territory, but have province status because they were separate colonies before Confederation, on the other later carved out provinces like Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are all huge and very regular in boundaries. The Northwest Territories are also interesting in that they were actually company land owned by the Hudson Bay Company (which still exists today as a major fur business, the only colonial company to survive the end of colonialism) before being handed over to Canada in 1871. Newfoundland was originally intended to be a separate country and Domain, but the Great Depression caused the government to collapse with the British establishing direct committee administration as a stopgap measure; after World War II a referendum was held in which provincehood beat out independence slightly thanks to the voters who supported the status quo of keeping the committee government, and so it entered Confederation in 1949 as the last new province of Canada.
    • When it comes to Canada's status of "being somewhere in-between the US and the UK", we're not kidding. All the provinces and territories have unicameral (single-chamber) rather than bicameral (two-chamber) parliaments - Canada did have bicameralism at the province level like the USA and Australia did but the appointed upper chambers (known as Legislative Councils) proved to be deeply unpopular and were all abolished one by one. There is a clear separation between province governor and premier as well as general governor and prime minister, like in the UK. The parliament is bicameral, with a lower house known as the Commons (like in the UK, but functionally identical to the US House of Representatives except for the longer term of 4-5 years which is a European thing) and an upper house in the form of the Senate (serves the same basic purpose as the US Senate, but the chamber is weaker in that it cannot introduce legislation and is appointed like the British House of Lords).
  • The Commonwealth of Australia consists of six independent states that banded together in 1901 to form a larger administrative unit within the British Empire (New Zealand and Fiji were invited and can still join if they want.) It is a strange medium between Canada's and the USA's federations; the states have the powers of the USA's states, but almost all tax revenue goes to the Federal government- which means the states are glorified government service departments. There is still significant variation in law and custom between the states (the most obvious being the definition of a certain kind of sausage.)
    • Australia can be best described as "Canada, but perfected" when it comes to the government system. From the start the British, taught by their mistakes in Canada, created a completely elected Parliament that functions just like the US Congress; four out of six States (again, just like the USA) eventually made their Legislative Councils (prior to this they were appointed just as they were in Canada, and Queensland outright abolished it's LegCo, with a Canada option of going unicameral being fairly popular for a while) elected, making them effectively State Senates. At the same time, there still is the parliamentarian split of prime minister - governor like in the UK.
  • Constitutionally, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is this. However, because the institutions inherited from colonial days haven't had any fundamental changes in terms of relations between the provinces and the central government, it still behaves more or less like The Empire, just with Islamabad (or when the military there is in charge, Rawalpindi) replacing London.
  • The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Officially united by their shared Communist ideology, unofficially unified because the Soviets conquered them.
    • Except they did not. The creation of the Soviet Union in December 1922 was an extremely complex process that would be best characterized as a Gambit Pileup: even if most of the shards of the former Russian Empire had Bolshevik, or at least Socialist governments at the time, they all had their own interests and goals, and even in the Russia proper Stalin, Trotsky, Lenin and Bukharin all had conflicting ideas about what to do next. Everyone was scheming against everyone, but military power played a surprisingly small role in that. In the end it was Stalin outmaneuvering all his opponents again, and convincing everyone that it's best (or least bad) for them to join.
  • The Federal Republic of Germany consists out of sixteen states. (Eleven older ones[1] + five new ones since 1990). This is partly because in its history, Germany has consisted out of many de-facto independent states for a long time, and partly in order to avoid too much centralism like during those certain dreadful twelve years.
    • During the 19th century, the German Federation and North German Federation both existed after the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire but before the total unification of Germany.
  • Austria rounds out the trifecta of German federalism - it consists of nine former Habsburg fiefs that were given autonomy after World War 1. On paper, the President is a very powerful position, in practice however he's more similar to the German President as the country's become phobic of strong authority, not only because of Hitler but also because of Engelbert Dolfuss and his Fatherland Front fascist regime.
  1. Or just ten, the status of (West) Berlin was a bit complicated.